Discover the Rhythms of Andalusia:
Join Our Guitarra Flamenca Mentorship Program
We are excited to introduce Canada’s first free flamenco guitar mentorship program, designed to nurture and develop Nova Scotia’s flamenco musical talent. This pioneering pilot project, generously supported by Arts Nova Scotia, is a testament to our dedication to making high-quality artistic education accessible to all. By upholding standards of excellence and facilitating direct engagement with esteemed flamenco artists and educators, we aim to offer an unparalleled learning experience to our participants.
Over the past 16 years, Atlantic Flamenco, under the visionary leadership of Artistic Director Maria Osende, has been a cornerstone in fostering a vibrant and dynamic flamenco community in Nova Scotia. Through our initiatives, especially the Atlantic Flamenco Festival and the Flamenco Nights Performance Series, we have significantly enriched the cultural and multicultural landscape of Halifax. These efforts have not only been instrumental in bringing flamenco to the forefront of our arts scene but have also garnered international recognition, highlighting our commitment to and impact on the global flamenco community.
Our Artistic Director Maria Osende leads a team of distinguished mentors: Kaveh Nassehi, a renowned flamenco guitarist and educator; flamenco singer Joyce Saunders. Together, along with support staff such as percussionist Chris Cookson, singer Lisa Myers and local flamenco dancers, they underscore flamenco’s collaborative and improvisational spirit, which is essential in a communal art form like flamenco. See bios of Key Mentors at the end of this page.
Guitarra Flamenca Mentorship Program Info
The program’s aim is to nurture a new generation of local flamenco artists, fostering collaboration between emerging talents and established professionals. It includes weekly practices, ongoing assessments, and community jam sessions, all designed to cultivate and enhance local talent.
The program will be hosted in Halifax’s North End, primarily at Aurora North End Commons on 5666 Sebastian Street, Halifax and at the Cafe Cempoal de la Calavera Negra, 2372 Agricola Street, about 2 blocks from the Halifax Commons, offering ideal settings for our activities. It also involves online guitar lessons via zoom.
We offer a well-structured curriculum that covers flamenco fundamentals and sets clear objectives at each learning stage. Kaveh Nassehi’s online lessons will provide personalized guidance to each participant, ensuring steady and meaningful progress. See details below.
Community Jam Sessions and Performance Opportunities:
Participants will have opportunities to showcase their skills and engage with the wider flamenco community through our jam sessions and performance events.
Interested individuals should fill out the ‘Mentorship Application Form’ and if shortlisted, an individual assessment, which may include a skill demonstration. More info below.
Program Schedule and Curriculum Details
Online Guitar Lessons with Kaveh Nassehi
These lessons will occur on Saturdays from 10-11am via Zoom. The dates for these 10 lessons are:
- March 16, 23; April 6, 12, 20;
- May 4, 11, 25; June 1, 8
Guitarra, Cante, Baile y Compas Sessions
These sessions are scheduled for
Tuesdays, from 7-8.30pm,
starting April 2 and continuing until June 18. They will take place at Cafe Cempoal de la Calavera Negra
Saturday, April 13 at Aurora North End Commons:
starting with a Meet & Greet and Potluck at 7pm, followed by an interactive flamenco rhythm class open to the community from 7.30-8.15 PM, and a Flamenco Jam Session from 8.15-9:30 PM for musicians and dancers.
Saturday, April 27 in the afternoon at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic as part of the Seville’s April Fair in Halifax. Details to be announced.
Saturday, May 24 at Aurora North End Commons: Similar to April 13, see above.
Saturday, June 22
Flamenco Showcase at Northwood Community Recreation and Wellness Centre
2615 Northwood Terrace, Halifax
Starting at 7pm, the event features a Flamenco Dance Showcase by Students from Flamenco and Ballet Dance School Maria Osende and guitarists’ end-of-program concluding with a party and Flamenco Jam Session
INTRODUCTION TO FLAMENCO GUITAR PLAYING
Accompaniment to the baile (dance) is one of the most complex aspects of flamenco guitar. In addition to being familiar with the characteristics of the cantes (songs) for the baile, the guitarist must attain a broad understanding of both the rhythmic and structural components of the various styles that shape it. In this course, our aim is to introduce students to the realm of accompaniment, covering the following areas:
Exploring various flamenco guitar playing techniques to achieve maximum sound mastery of the instrument, enabling the guitarists to express themselves musically.
RHYTHM: Binary, Ternary and Amalgamated rhythms
- Traditional structures of the baile (dance)
- Formal elements of the cantes for the baile
- Main melodies of the cantes for the baile
- Harmonic structures of the flamenco guitar accompaniment applied to the flamenco baile
- Analysis of a complete baile in the style of “alegrías”
- Guitar accompaniment techniques and resources
Call for Participating Guitarists for our Guitarra Flamenca Mentorship Program:
We invite guitarists with a background in guitar, residing in the Halifax area, to apply for this unique opportunity. Our program caters to various expertise levels and is particularly focused on those who are committed to enriching the local flamenco scene in Nova Scotia.
- Aspiring Flamencos: Ages 16 to 30. Suitable for individuals with basic guitar proficiency. Applicants should be eager to deepen their understanding and skills in flamenco.
- Flamenco Apprentices: Ages 16 to 40. Targeted at intermediate guitarists looking to refine their technique and explore flamenco styles.
- Advanced/Professional Guitarists: Open to all ages. For experienced musicians transitioning into flamenco, focusing on accompaniment and solo performances.
Commitment to the Local Community:
A key criterion for participation is an intention or commitment to remain in Nova Scotia and contribute to the local flamenco community. We seek individuals who aspire to practice and perform flamenco within our community, thereby fostering a vibrant and sustainable artistic environment.
Practice and Participation Requirements:
Participants must be willing to commit to the full duration of the program and dedicate at least 4 hours per week for individual practice. This dedication is vital for honing skills and achieving meaningful progress in the art of flamenco.
Interested individuals should fill out the ‘Mentorship Application Form’ also inlcuded below.
Selection involves an assessment of your playing abilities and commitment to flamenco, which may include a performance, a skill demonstration, a discussion of your musical background, or a video submission.
Application Deadline: February 28, 2024.
Notification of Selection: Applicants will be notified by March 8, 2024.
Click on the button below if you cannot view the application form on this page.
Mentorship Team Key Bios
Maria Osende – Flamenco Dancer and Program Director
Maria Osende, a pivotal figure in Halifax’s Flamenco scene and the artistic director of Atlantic Flamenco, is celebrated as a dancer, choreographer, producer, and teacher. Since moving to Canada in 2003 she has choreographed and produced numerous flamenco shows involving flamenco musicians and dancers. She played a crucial role in developing the local flamenco community in Nova Scotia, guiding local musicians in accompanying flamenco dance and contributing significantly to the regional flamenco culture. Besides teaching flamenco dance at the Flamenco and Ballet Dance School Maria Osende, she teaches flamenco compás (rhythm) as well as structure and composition of flamenco music for baile (dance).
Kaveh Nassehi – Flamenco Guitarist
An accomplished guitarist and educator, Kaveh is known for his profound dedication to flamenco music. With a rich academic background, including “Conservatorio Superior de Música Rafael Orozco” in Córdoba with a specialization in flamenco guitar, and a “Master’s in Interpretation of Guitar” from the Universidad Internacional de Andalucía, Kaveh has been actively involved in the flamenco scene. From 2017 to 2023, he served as a flamenco guitar professor at the renowned Cristina Heeren Foundation in Seville, where he later became the Coordinator of the Flamenco Guitar Department. His professional journey, spanning since 1999, includes performances, classes, and collaborations.
Joyce Saunders – Flamenco Singer
Born in Truro, Nova Scotia, singer-songwriter Joyce Saunders is known for her unique blend of folk, original songs and powerful flamenco performances. Joyce’s journey in flamenco began in 2010, and she has since developed a seasoned and compelling voice in this genre. Her dedication to flamenco led her to the Fundacion Cristina Heeren in Seville, Spain, in 2017, where she immersed herself in studying flamenco singing. In her new role as a mentor, Joyce will be working closely with mentees, sharing her expertise in both vocals and guitar, and contributing her diverse experiences to nurture emerging talent in the flamenco community.
Atlantic Flamenco would like to acknowledge the generous funding from
Arts Nova Scotia in support of this program